Tissue engineering is a fast-growing field, but right now the only way to get a human bone is to cut one from a human body. In short, this isn’t a perfect scenario.
The methods currently used in the procedures that require bone grafting—about two million worldwide per year—include implanting a cadaver bone or a synthetic bone, or performing a second surgery to remove bone from the same patient’s body.
EpiBone, a startup founded by two former Columbia University researchers, seeks an alternative solution. Because they grow bones from stem cells, EpiBone creations are alive and can grow with the patient for an optimal fit.
Through this new approach to bone grafting, EpiBone changes how we think about the human body. Co-founder and CEO Nina Tandon says, “We are hoping to view the human body as a renewable resource of cells we can use to grow bones from scratch…and regenerate new parts as you need them.”
The FDA has not yet approved EpiBone trials on humans, but the company has successfully implanted bones into pigs. Tandon is hopeful that the startup will move forward on clinical trials in the next three years.
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